It’s everywhere! It’s everywhere! I’ve seen it on Oprah, I’ve seen it on Ellen, and now I’ve seen it on the Today Show — “The Secret” — the book about the Law of Attraction and how it can improve your life.
Got a problem with health? or finances? or your love life? Read The Secret. Life will be perfect. Well — maybe it’s not quite that easy!
Perhaps not surprisingly — I’m actually a fan of the book. I began reading it several months ago, and for many reasons, I think it’s wonderful. It’s very positive, it’s very do-able, and its outcomes can make a huge difference in many people’s lives.
If you aren’t familiar, it’s about setting your brain up to think in very positive ways. You commit yourself to your goals, and you believe you already have achieved them. You practice grace and gratefulness. The Law of Attraction says that you will attract exactly what you put out into the universe, so by thinking positive thoughts, you will attract that positiveness (is that a word?). Or positivity. Good things will come to you.
The problem I have with it is expectations — what can actually be attracted vs what can’t be. The authors claim it’s scientific, and you can get your new car, win the lottery and/or rid yourself of disease, as long as you put those ideas out into the universe and truly believe you have already accomplished them.
Sorry — not buying it. At least not to that extent. I don’t think that someone diagnosed with asthma can put “no asthma” out into the universe and suddenly breath clearly again with no medication. I don’t think someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, has the scans and bloodwork to prove it, and is given only a few weeks to live can put “picture of health” out into the universe and walk away from that death sentence.
What I DO believe is that positive thinking can have a very positive effect on anything in our lives. I DO believe (and there are evidence-based studies to back it up) that our attitude makes a huge difference in our health, and how we tolerate our health. My dad, who has every reason healthwise to complain and be miserable, enjoys a happy existence because he has such a positive attitude. He believes — a la The Secret — that my mother’s Alzheimers can improve (and it has!)
And don’t forget — I never bought-in to my cancer diagnosis. I truly believed I did not have it. Putting that thought out into the universe helped me prove I didn’t. BUT — that’s not the same as curing it. I didn’t put a CURE into the universe — only the belief that the doctors were wrong. The difference can be seen in that the biopsy was two weeks previous to anyone mentioning cancer to me — and when the biopsy was finally reviewed by someone who knew what she was doing, it proved I never had cancer to begin with.
To the extent The Secret can help us be positive thinkers, and can help us remember to be consistently grateful (no matter whether you think that has religious or spiritual connotations or not) — I think it’s a wonderful resource and a great approach to life.
But don’t mix it up with unrealistic expectations. I think unrealistic expectations can be dangerous and can get in the way of good.
God helps those who help themselves — that’s true with The Secret, too.
|Want more tools for sharp patients?
Sign up for Every Patient’s Advocate once-a-week or so email tips.